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DBT's Cooley offers songs his way

City Winery, Boston, November 15, 2022

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

If longing to see Drive-By Truckers – that is, if you missed the band on tour this year - about the best you could have done on this night anyway was to take in DBT guitarist Mike Cooley solo acoustic.

Now, that's not exactly the same as seeing the Truckers, but Cooley acquitted himself well in an even-keeled performance. In fact, he leaned only into the DBT catalogue, as all 19 songs were from the DBT, and Cooley wrote all of them.

This was not a concert of a lot of highs and lows as a large portion of the material tended to be mid-tempo. Some a bit faster ("Slow Ride Argument," the bluesy "Marry Me" and the closing "Shit Shots Count"). Some slower ("Love Like This" and "Perfect Timing").

But there were a few highlights, particularly "Carl Perkins' Cadillac" upon a request, one of several Cooley honored throughout the easy-going performance.

Cooley's strength, of course, was his guitar playing. He's an exact, lyrical player and demonstrated that throughout the 95-minute set. He occupied that same role with the Truckers. So, it's no surprise that's what stood out before a small crowd of about 60 people.

He may not have the same vocal dynamics of DBT lead singer Patterson Hood, but Cooley more than held his own. Cooley offered commentary here and there, sometimes with a quick quip or less frequently a story.

One suspects that Cooley will not follow in the footsteps of former DBT-er Jason Isbell and have an ultra successful solo career. On a day off from his regular gig, Cooley was content to offer songs his way – until he gets back with the Truckers.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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